Panic (Bloodlands Collection)

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Panic (Bloodlands Collection) audiobook

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Review #1

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Panic by Harold Schechter is listed on an Amazon page as Best Sellers in Fiction. On the Amazon page for the book itself, we have this paragraph: Panic is part of Bloodlands, a chilling collection of short page-turning historical narratives from bestselling true-crime master Harold Schechter. Spanning a century in our nations murderous past, Schechter resurrects nearly forgotten tales of madmen and thrill-killers that dominated the most sensational headlines of their day. Is this meant to be another mystery for me to solve? Are the Schechter works fiction or non-fiction? The synopsis This 88-page novel published in 2018 focuses on a series of sexually motivated child killings that occurred in 1937. Schechter introduces a sociological term moral panic to describe the near hysterical reaction of the citizenry that is akin to an end of days scenario. It is unclear from this work when the term moral panic came into common use among sociologists but it is easy to see the usefulness of the label in 1937 and today. School shootings, seemingly unreasoned attacks by knife-wielding crazies, and cars piloted into crowds for no purpose other than to kill or wound as many as possible all provoke moral panic today. Schechter makes the case that this phenomenon occurred in 1937 and occurs today with nearly fourteen pages of references. The focus of this novel is on the 1937 events and the social rage the events provoked. Schechter does not use graphic sexual or violent language to describe either the crimes or the descriptions of bodies once they are found. The author uses almost clinical language for his descriptions. The shock some readers may feel comes from the age of the victims, usually under 12 and as young as four. I suppose this serves as some sort of trigger warning. The publicity surrounding the 1937 events demanded the motivation for the killings. The immediate motivation was for the sexual gratification of the perpetrators; that part is clear. But what caused these individuals to develop into the persons they became? The proposed reasons for deviant behavior sound familiar. Young people no longer valued or followed religious teachings. Prohibition had been repealed so alcohol could again be blamed. Burlesque fueled sexual fantasies. And my all-time favorite, weird music. Nineteen thirty-seven may not have had Heavy Metal but they had Jazz. Good enough, lets blame that. Schechter presents reactions of very prominent Jazz pioneers in the defense of music. The Author Harold Schechter specializes in writing about serial killers. I counted approximately twenty-two Kindle publications. These are the only publications I read because of the high cost of print media where I live. Schechter also has many paperback publications, some of which he has co-authored. His Amazon author site has five pages with 12 publications per page; he has been around for a while. He is a professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York. My Opinion I like crime novels whether fiction or non-fiction. My expectations for each are different. If non-fiction, I want to see references. For fiction, I want twists and surprises. Sometimes I get both such as with a recently reviewed Rogue Divorce Lawyer, an excellent reading experience with a mixture of solid references and creative writing that covered possible motivation. I like Schechters writing style; he projects credibility. Which leads me to a rant about what I do not like. The absolute worst in non-fiction crime writing is that produced by a writer who cobbles together publicly available headlines and newspaper reports and struggles to write transition sentences containing psychobabble clichs. It is amazing to me that such writers make a living from their craft but their names appear often enough to assure me they do so. Usually, I am able to identify such plagiaristic rip-offs and abandon the novel after a few pages. Every once in a while I write a one-star review out of rage but I think I am getting over that. Harold Schechter is a good writer who presents reasoned and logical arguments. Some may find his style dry and almost academic. I like the style and gave this novel four Amazon stars, not five because I would have liked a longer, more detailed examination of issues introduced. I will next read Hells Princess, a 336-page novel, to see how Schechter treats a case in greater depth.


Review #2

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In the synopsis, there was a statement: \”During the Depression, economic anxieties found an outlet in a series of child murders that triggered an irrational nationwide hysteria: pedophiliac psychopaths were overrunning the country.\” I disagree. I\’m sure that the devastation of the time may have caused a lot, but a pedophile is a pedophile. They don\’t just become one because they\’re short on money and food or out of work. I do, however, agree with a statement from the book: \”Sociologists refer to these periodic alarms as \’moral panics\’…mass hysteria, typically ignited by a handful of shockingly similar crimes that happen in rapid succession.\” Essentially, that\’s what this book is about, the moral panic that swept the country due to horrific, headline grabbing, rape/murders of children that happened to coincide with the Great Depression. However, with research, one would see that this was not a new type of crime in the 30s and of course not since then. The book highlights several gruesome cases that took place in some of the largest, most populous cities in the country, so of course they made national news, especially with how gruesome they tended to be. Good examples were chosen, a good deal of information provided, and there were photos (not of crime scenes). Gratefully, the book was written like a book, and not like a term paper pieced together and submitted at the final hour.


Review #3

Audiobook Panic (Bloodlands Collection) by Harold Schechter

This is the sixth story in the Bloodlands series by Harold Schecter. I hope more will come, because this has been an interesting, informative series of True Crime. BTW, my wife and I are watching the latest, newest episode of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries on Hallmark Channel. As filler, one member is assigned to speak about the Bender murders near Independence, KS in 1871. My first Bloodlands review was of Schecters story about the Benders. The title was Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie. But, on with my review of Panic. Imagine a time when a father is worried for the safety of his two little girls, due to news reports circulating about young, innocent girls, getting kidnapped, raped and murdered. So frightened that they MIGHT suffer so fearsome a fate, that he treats them to a dessert of ice cream, then, to prevent THEIR possible kidnap, rape and murder that HE, the father, kills them and commits suicide. That is not the main subject of Panic. It is merely the opening, and leads us into a series of tragic murders and the resulting investigations and convictions. THE WRITING: Smooth and engaging. POV: Third person. BLUSH FACTOR: The language is free of profanities, but the topic might dissuade a few from sharing with their prayer group, or young children. Otherwise, no worries. ADVENTURE: Going back to the 1930s might be consider an adventure in time. SOUL: Perhaps anti-soul would better describe the murders that wreak this sort of havoc upon children. EXCERPT Sorry, for this short work of just 88 pages, I am not posting any excerpts. If, however, you take a glance at my review of Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie, you will get a feel for the authors style and flair. BOTTOM LINE Five stars out of five. I am writing a book for aspiring reviewers and for product suppliers seeking reviews in an effort to help improve the process and to understand the value of Amazons Customer Review process. I hope to incorporate many of the received comments, with attribution to those making the suggestions, into my books. Together, you and I can build a great customer review process that helps everybody. Will you join me? It is people such as you who have helped me improve over the years. I\’m still learning, and I have a great deal yet to learn. With your help, I\’ll improve every day. One request: Be respectful and courteous in your comments and emails to me. I will do likewise with you. NOTE: I am unable to post replies to comments at my reviews. Not sure why. I will, though try to update reviews to incorporate suggestions or answers to questions. Further, feel free to use Contact Us at i-read-test-review dot com. I enjoy reading all comments, pro and con, so keep posting them as you wish. I even get a kick out of sarcastic comments from Onion Eaters! Thank you so much for indicating if this review helped you, or for your comment.


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